As the rest of Team Arrow escapes Nanda Parbat (with an assist from The Flash), Oliver Queen plays his final hand against Ra's Al Ghul. But Ra's escapes from the deathtrap Oliver had planned to end both his and Ra's lives. Now, with the trust of his allies broken and a deadly plague threatening Starling City, Oliver Queen must once again become someone else...
The Batman and Green Arrow comics of Dennis O'Neil, The Fall of Green Arrow by J.T. Krul (Oliver Queen manages to drive off most of his allies in an effort to stop a villain from destroying his city), Green Arrow: Where Angels Fear To Tread by Chuck Dixon (Oliver winds up in a situation where his death in an exploding plane trying to stop a virus from being released seems certain), Watchmen (Ra's line about releasing the virus ten minutes earlier) and Batman: Contagion (Ra's Al Ghul seeks to destroy a whole city with a plague).
Willa Holland's blocking during the scene where Thea and Diggle are trying to get people away from the contaminated corpse is awkward, as if she wasn't given any more direction than "keep turning around".
How did the police chief of Starling City find out the people responsible for the bio-weapon attack were fighting on top of the city dam? And why was Quentin Lance called out to where the snipers were setting up in the first place?
David Ramsey gets more action scenes in this episode than I think he may have gotten in the rest of the season leading up to this point combined. It's always good to see Ramsey in action but he truly sells Diggle's feelings of betrayal throughout the episode.
Paul Blackthorne doesn't have much to do in this episode but it is nice to see Quentin calling Laurel on her bullshit when she gets outraged over his drinking again and lying to her about it.
Emily Bett Rickards has had a lot of tearful monologues over the last half of Season Three and has gotten a lot of flack for it by anti-Olicity fans of the show. This episode, however, shows that she can handle a speech that requires steel instead of tears and her delivery when Felicity tells Oliver that he can't kill Ra's as Oliver Queen or Al-Sah-him is one of her finest moments on the show.
The fight between Oliver and Nyssa vs. Ra's and the Assassins on the cargo plane is very well shot and choreographed.
The final sword fight between Ra's and Ollie is a thing of beauty as far as sword fights go. The scene is well-blocked and the music is perfect.
Rather than starting with the usual "My name is Oliver Queen" speech, this episode opens with a montage showing the key events of Season 3 leading up to last week's cliffhanger.
Oliver's plan to kill himself in a plain crash to prevent a virus from being released over a big city is a nod to the plot of Where Angels Fear To Tread - a storyline that ran through Green Arrow #97-101. At the end of that storyline, Oliver Queen did sacrifice his life by destroying a plane carrying a lethal virus over the city of Metropolis.
Reference is made to a traffic light outage at the corner of O'Neil and Adams. This is a nod to writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams, whose run on Green Lantern/Green Arrow redefined the character of Oliver Queen.
Another reference is made to an electrical spike at 52nd and Robson. This is a reference to the significance of the number 52 and DC Comics and Robson Square - the shooting location in Vancouver of Arrow's street scenes.
Ra's line about releasing the virus ten minutes before he called Oliver is similar to a line from Watchmen - “Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.”
Captain Lance makes mention of the files for an Andrekyo case. This is likely a nod to writer Marc Andrekyo, who wrote the comic Manhunter about a D.A. turned vigilante - not unlike Laurel Lance.
Felicity quotes the opening monologue of the show, when she tells Oliver that he has become someone else... something else.
Thea dons the Arsenal costume and later says she's thinking of taking the name Red Arrow, but Ollie jokes that he already told everyone to call her Speedy. Speedy, of course, was the first alias used by Roy Harper in the comics and he alter took the name Red Arrow when he was invited to join The Justice League. In the comics, Mia Dearden - a homeless teen whom Ollie took in, whom inspired much of the character of Thea Queen on Arrow - became the second Speedy.
The boat that Ollie gets on at the end of the Five Years Ago flashback is based in Coast City. This is the home town of Hal Jordan - Green Lantern - in the comics.
At the end of the episode, Ray attempts to use his nanotech to enable The ATOM suit to shrink. This is, of course, the main super power of The Atom in the comics.
Merlyn used a synthetic skin graft to cutaneously vaccinate John, Felicity, Laurel and Ray with the vaccine from the Alpha/Omega bioweapon. An unnamed associate was able to synthesize the vaccine from a sample of Oliver's blood.
The Alpha/Omega bio-weapon gives off a low-level emission from its RNA, almost like radiation.
Ray notes that if they can hack the keyhole hexagon satellite, they can tune the quadband to search for it.
The Alpha/Omega virus spreads when infected blood is exposed to open air.
Ray is able to spread the Alpha/Omega inoculate over a three block radius by programming his nanotech to take the vaccine and make it airborne.
Ray theorizes that his nanotech could be applied to miniaturize key components of his ATOM suit.
Ra's: You were asleep.
Ollie: I was dreaming.
Ra's: Ibn Sirin once wrote there are three types of dreams. There are ones about truth. There are ones about desire. And there are ones about temptation. What did you dream of?
Ollie: Rebirth. As Ra's Al Ghul.
Merlyn: I saved your lives. I believe the words you're searching for are 'thank' and 'you'.
The Flash: (looking at The Lazarus Pit) You guys have a hot tub? Nice!
The Flash: (wincing) Thank you, Felicity! You just outed my secret identity to a super villain (looks to Merlyn) No offense.
Merlyn: None taken. Now get us out of here?!
Ra's: You were delivered by the prophecy! You wed my daughter! Your name is Al Sah-him! And you are Wahreeth Al Ghul!
Ollie: (draws sword) My name is Oliver Queen!
General Shrieve: My people will be looking for me. It's just a matter of time before they find me.
(Oliver says nothing, drawing an arrow from his quiver)
General Shrieve: Do it!
Ollie: Do you remember Amanda Waller, hmmm? She's the reason that I'm in Hong Kong. She thought I had a special talent. She taught me things. Let me show you.
Captain Lance: The city's under attack? Must be May!
Laurel: If you want to drink, then drink. But don't just stand there and lie to me, right to my face!
Captain Lance: Doesn't feel good, does it?
Maseo: I am without a soul, Tatsu.
Tatsu: Only if you abandon your wife when she needs you the most.
Maseo: Every time I look in your eyes... I see my son's. I see my failure.
Tatsu: I love you.
Maseo: I am not worthy of that love.
Oliver: Felicity... I can't defeat Ra's Al Ghul!
Felicity: Oliver Queen can't. The Arrow can't. Both those men tried and both those men failed. You remember what you said during our night together in Nanda Parbat? You're no longer either of those men. You've become... someone else. Become something else. (Felicity places her hand over Ollie's heart) This... is different not. Because despite your best effort, you've allowed yourself to feel something. I know you think that's a weakness. It's not. It's your key to beating Ra's. Don't fight to die. Fight to live.
Ra's: Unlike you, thousands of honorable men will mourn my death when I leave this Earth.
(Ollie blocks Ra's sword strike, and grabs the sword, spinning around, slashing Ra's with his own weapon before plunging the sword through his chest)
Ollie: They will kneel before the next Ra's Al Ghul.
(After saving Ollie from falling to his death while wearing the ATOM armor)
Felicity: If I could figure out how to get this thing off, I wold be kissing you right now.
Ollie: As we agreed.
(Oliver shakes hands with Merlyn, but passes him the ring of Ra's Al Ghul as he does so)
Merlyn: We've come a long way, you and I. I've always looked at you as a son, Oliver. And I'm glad we got to work together. To trust as we did.
Ollie: (leaning in) I will never forgive you for what you did to Sara and my sister. Ever.
Merlyn: Does that mean we're enemies once more?
Ollie: That depends on what you do with your end of the bargain.
The golden claw ring that Ra's wears is the symbol of his office among The League of Assassins.
Barry Allen springs Team Arrow from the dungeons of Nanda Parbat in order to repay the favor he owed Ollie from F122 when Ollie helped Barry to fight The Reverse Flash.
Tatsu returns to her life of solitude once she is free of Nanda Parbat.
Oliver knows how to fly a cargo plane.
Five years ago, Akio was cremated and his ashed put into three urns. Tatsu gave one of the urns to Oliver, despite his objections to taking one. The other two were kept by Tatsu and Maseo.
Oliver spends the better part of a day torturing General Shrieve. This marks the first time Oliver speaks of someone failing their city and delivering justice.
Maseo kills General Shrieve.
Ra's sworn enemy Damien Darkh - mentioned in 321 - is said to be staying in Starling City, but it turns out to be a false lead.
Felicity refers to her vow never to make Oliver coffee at work (201) and the one night she and Ollie spent together in 320.
Oliver wields the same sword that Ra's used to run him through in 309.
Thea makes her first public appearance in costume, though her code name is still undetermined.
Ra's uses his own men to disperse the virus.
Merlyn also gave Thea the vaccine for the Alpha/Omega virus.
Laurel is now capable of taking on a single Assassin in one-on-one combat.
Oliver recites a Muslim prayer in Arabic as Ra's dies. - "Forgive and have mercy on him. Protect him from the punishment of the grave and the torment of the Fire."
Nyssa notes that only the fact that Oliver was wearing League of Assassins' armor saved him from the police sniper's bullets.
Five years earlier, Tatsu goes to Kumamoto and a monastery she had always hoped to show her son. Oliver decides to avoid returning to Starling City and hops on a ship called Triton's Daughter, which cites Coast City as its home port.
Tatsu knew about Robert Queen's message to Oliver, telling him to save their city.
As the episode ends, Oliver has retired from superheroics and gone off with Felicity to try and figure out who the new person he's become is.
Felicity has resigned her job with Palmer Technologies.
John Diggle's future as a member of Team Arrow is uncertain, though he does promise to think on continuing to protect Starling City and doing something to conceal his identity if he does so.
Thea is committed to protecting Starling City, though she has yet to pick a name. She is leaning toward Red Arrow but Ollie told everyone to call her Speedy.
Presumably Laurel plans to continue on as Assistant D.A. by day and Black Canary by night.
Ray attempts to program his nanotech to make his ATOM suit shrink. This results in an explosion of blue energy that destroys most of the top floors of the Palmer technologies building.
Merlyn is the new leader of the League of Assassins. Nyssa is content to serve under him, for now, but she has sworn revenge for his role in Sara Lance's death.
The Bottom Line
A much stronger conclusion than I expected, given how uneven various aspects of Season Three have been. The season ends with surprisingly little in the way of significant cliff-hangers, with Ray's apparent death by explosion being the only real moment of suspense. Everything else hinges on what Thea will call herself as she becomes a vigilante, whether or not Diggle will continue to protect Starling City and what, if anything, Merlyn will be up to in Season 4.
As usual, Laurel's subplot seem tacked on and her contributions to the action are meager at best. It's telling that more time is spent establishing a status quo for Nyssa Al Ghul than there is for Laurel or Quentin in the show's final ten minutes and one wishes they'd move The Lance family to Central City, where both characters had their best moments of the year doing a guest spot on The Flash.